The world is often a confusing and terrifying place. Lesser artists avoid such heavy subjects. Sure there’s a place in the world for catchy songs, mindlessly expressing self-indulgence, but on “A Short Story About a War,” Canadian rapper Shad has given us something very rare… an enjoyable album that also makes you think. Fearless in his vision and perfect in execution.
After “Intro: Sniper”’s jazzy/spoken word initial 30 seconds, the tone abruptly changes. Welcome to the album. From here, the first few tracks are bleak, vicious and passionate. “The Revolution/The Establishment” is impressive at every level. Lyrics like “They make borders/They hate foreigners” “We hate war/They hate peace” entice you to bop your head and shout along.
Now, I should come clean and explain that released back in July, “The Fool Pt1 (Get it Got it Good)” is easily my favorite single of the year. I’ve likely listened to it close to a hundred times since being released this summer and anxiously awaited the full album release. The track is a masterpiece of positivity, which actually contradicts the majority of the other songs. You’ve now been forewarned.
The latter half of the album changes the lyrical setting from external to internal. From universal to personal. References to peace and faith are peppered throughout. The struggles being discussed are not about worldwide issues but, specific to creators of art living in Toronto.
This album didn’t match my expectations after hearing the first catchy single. Like all great albums the sum is greater than its parts. Shad’s voice is so versatile, changing to match the theme of each song, sometimes by utilizing some modulation and digital manipulation.
It’s comforting to sometimes let your mind be distracted in the myriad mundanities of modern existence. So long as you also remember to look outside yourself. Realize you are part of the human family. Be ready to stand up for what you believe in and the right for others to do the same.
Check out: The Revolution/The Establishment, The Fool Pt1 (Get it Got it Good), Magic, Peace/War.